Bothriechis aurifer Salvin, 1860, Coba, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.
OTHER COMMON NAMES Spanish: Cantil loro, cantil verde.
The yellow-blotched palm-pitviper is a small, relatively slender snake with a prehensile tail. Specimens longer than 3.3 ft (1 m) are known, but the length of most adults is less than 2.3 ft (70 cm). The dorsum is green with small yellow blotches with black borders. A black postocular stripe is almost always present. A few specimens may be uniformly green dorsally. For this species, 18-21 midbody (most individuals have 19) scale rows have been recorded, along with 8-12 supralabial scales, 148-167 ventral scales, and 48-64 subcaudal scales.
The species occurs in southern Mexico and Guatemala.
The yellow-blotched palm-pitviper inhabits cloud forest and pine-oak forest, usually at elevations of 3,940-7,550 ft (1,200-2,300 m).
The species is arboreal and diurnal.
On many occasions, the yellow-blotched palm-pitviper has been observed actively foraging in terrestrial bromeliads. Known prey include treefrogs and small mammals.
It gives live birth to five to eight young.
This species is not listed by the IUCN. However, extensive destruction of cloud forest throughout the range of this snake continues to extirpate local populations and threatens the entire species.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
This is a dangerously venomous snake; at least one human fatality has resulted from the bite of this species. ♦
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